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Sep 11 2011

Our disgrace

I just saw @ThatKevinSmith’s Red State. It was the perfect movie to watch on 9/11: full of violence, sanctimonious religion, and terror in the name of anti-terrorism. It’s such an American movie. If you really want to feel the grim despair of living in God’s own America, this is the movie to see — a painful vision of our nightmare.

That’s really how I feel: we have been marching backwards since 9/11, throwing away our civil liberties, lashing out at the world with violence, as if that will solve anything. For contrast, read this description of what Martin Luther King did for the country. He inspired people to stand up for their rights, and got African Americans to unite and demand respect.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone exactly what Martin Luther King did, and it wasn’t that he “marched” or gave a great speech.

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, “Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south.”

Please let this sink in and and take my word and the word of my late father on this. If you are a white person who has always lived in the U.S. and never under a brutal dictatorship, you probably don’t know what my father was talking about.

But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.

He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.

It was a great stride forward for black people. Yet when you look at the last ten years, what do we see? The opposite. The country rushing to embrace fear. There’s nothing to honor today. Americans should see this as a day of shame, not because we were attacked, but for how we responded afterwards — we left courage behind and became a nation of bullies and cowards.

And that’s all I have to say about 9/11.

76 comments

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  1. 1
    Great American Satan

    Fuckin’ A, man. Now if only you could give this speech while jumping a flaming harley over a pit of methed out alligators, you would be my hero forever…

  2. 2
    Pen

    That’s about all I would have to say too.

  3. 3
    Zeno

    Many religious types have complained that Mayor Bloomberg declined to turn New York City’s official memorial service on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks into a prayerfest. He didn’t invite clergy to offer invocations of the invisible big man in the sky and they’re upset. Good, I say. Religion was actually part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  4. 4
    GJames

    Well said.

  5. 5
    gghellmann

    Thanks for saying that. I agree with you.

  6. 6
    Kevin Alexander

    If you can pardon a kind of long post, I wrote this ten years ago.

    It’s over, Bin Lauden won.
    Osama has declared from the start the rationale for his campaign; the destruction of the corrupt west. He pointed out that, in spite of all the John Wayne movie nonsense, the Americans had degenerated into shivering cowards who would abandon their stated principles in the face of any threat however slight–even an imaginary one. And you have.
    What was the United States? Purple Mountains? Amber waves? Lots of places have those things. Even Iran. You were the first nation on earth to establish the rule of law, the idea that no one was above the law and all were equal before it. The Constitution ruled. Get out your dictionary. The word constitution means what something is made of. When you abandon what you are out of fear–well you don’t need a dictionary for that–it’s the definition of cowardice. When a President says he isn’t bound by the law, he’s not a president but a king. By accepting that, you become peasants.
    The shade of Lincoln is weeping right now. Still, what he believed in has not perished from this world; it’s only perished from the United States.
    Shortly after September 11 Bush gave a speech where he declared ‘America is a Mighty Giant’ Bin Lauden laughed at that. He remembered that Goliath was a mighty giant too.
    It’s over, Bin Lauden won.

  7. 7
    Alison S

    Martin Luther King was indeed a great American and embodied all that can be best in the USA. The wall-to-wall coverage of 9/11 without examining the pernicious effects of the aftermath condemns us all to life in a borderline police state. There is nothing like fear to allow politicians to control the masses. King would be deeply saddened by the depths to which the US and its allies have sunk.

  8. 8
    Kevin Alexander

    Zeno, about the dearth of godbotherers at the memorial, Camels with Hammers has a very good blog on this. Sorry I don’t know how to do links, you’ll have to find it yourself.

  9. 9
    Max S

    In the time that I have been reading your blogs, I have never commented. This one, however, needed a response. That was exactly how I’ve felt for a while. Thank you.

  10. 10
    Rational Human

    Very well said indeed.

  11. 11
    Kevin Alexander

    And you’re right Yowie does love a good splatter.

  12. 12
    Alverant

    Actually I heard the movie is pretty bad. The guy reviewing it is certainly closer to us in terms of views than most and he accused the movie of being directionless and yanking the audience this way and that then building up to something that never happens. Eh, either way I wouldn’t see it. I don’t care for the gore fest. If I want to be scared at how this country is turning, I’ll just read the internet comments on Chicago Tribune.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escape-to-the-movies/4147-Red-State

  13. 13
    Shak

    Well said PZ, It disgusted me to hear Obama applaud the wars and say “(Our troops) have demonstrated that those who do us harm cannot hide from the reach of justice, anywhere in the world”

  14. 14
    'Tis Himself

    While I’m not a Spenglerian historical determinist, I’ve noticed for a long while that the US is moving from a republic to a caesarist dictatorship. This is something Spengler suggested happen when civilizations get old.

  15. 15
    demonhype

    Thank you from both my father and me for putting this so succinctly. We’ve been fighting with my mother over the last couple days because she thinks it’s totally possible and even acceptable to completely detach the tragedy of 9/11 from the complete dismantling of everything good and right that happened almost immediately afterward, and thinks our cynicism about such emotional propagandizing means we “lack humanity”–just because we refuse to ignore how the memory of people dead on 9/11 was manipulated and dishonored in order to completely destroy this country and cause even more deaths in its wake! No, you can’t “honor” one thing while pretending the rest of it didn’t even happen–they’re a package deal, especially since we’re still languishing in the aftermath. To speak of one while neglecting the other is disingenuous and is in the primary interest of those who put us in this position to begin with. I certainly don’t see such omissions as an honor to the memory of 9/11.

    Kevin Alexander said it too. I’ve been referring to America as a neo-feudal society for some time now, and 9/11 really got that ball rolling even faster.

    And Max S: I felt that way on 9/11 itself! The only thought that came to my mind, as I stood in a vast field of wailing and gnashing of teeth, was that this was the beginning of the end, that this tragedy would be politicized and propagandized to take the maximum benefit of the rampant hysteria and emotionalism that burst forth. And I couldn’t say a damn word because of that emotionalism, because the curse of being a logical person in a world of emotional people is that to simply point out the facts would be enough to get my ass lynched. It would be years before people like me could speak even somewhat freely.

  16. 16
    Jenny Wren

    This. This is exactly why I did not watch all the inane pomp an circumstance today on TV. I just couldn’t put it into words as well as you do. Thanks. :)

  17. 17
    Inaji

    PZ:

    It was a great stride forward for black people. Yet when you look at the last ten years, what do we see? The opposite. The country rushing to embrace fear. There’s nothing to honor today. Americans should see this as a day of shame, not because we were attacked, but for how we responded afterwards — we left courage behind and became a nation of bullies and cowards.

    I agree absolutely. The increasing jingoism of many Americans is both contemptible and frightening. Very few people seem willing to think anymore, they prefer to simply react.

    As for Red State, it’s in my netflix queue and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  18. 18
    Lotharloo

    Somewhere I saw it mentioned that one reason behind the financial crisis was the two wars that US fought and that together with the crisis, 9/11 might have caused US to lose one decade. Now, that is a very scary thought; OBL could have won but in a totally twisted way.

  19. 19
    Kirian

    I can only say “Hear! Hear!” If I wouldn’t be immediately disowned by members of my family, I’d have posted something similar on my Facebook. Never forget… what cowards we have become, how our own government uses terrorist tactics, and how many of our rights have been eroded in the name of the War on Turrerr.

  20. 20
    Zeno

    Thanks, Kevin Alexander. I went over to “Camels with Hammers” to check it out. For the interested, here’s a link:

    Clergy Rightfully Have No Place at 9/11 Memorial

  21. 21
    Aquaria

    d he accused the movie of being directionless and yanking the audience this way and that then building up to something that never happens.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but, as a red-stater, as soon, as I read that, I thought, “Guess what it’s like to live in one of these hell holes? That’s precisely what it’s like to live in a red state. Yanked around every which way, but going nowhere.” AKA, futility.

    Until I see it, I can’t fault him for doing it this way, if his intention is to show how meaningless and suffocating and frustrating such a life is.

    Besides, making a movie that’s meandering, and yanks the viewer around between moments of utter boredom and utter frustration is what made him famous with Clerks. Why expect anything different from him now?

  22. 22
    Menyambal

    Thanks, PZ.

    My feelings on the whole mess are best summed up by the snarling, frustrated, raging helplessness I felt when I saw G W Bush was at the dedication of the Flight 93 memorial.

    Only he would have dared to be there after all he did.

    Thanks, PZ.

  23. 23
    shawnthesheep

    I’m sick of the 9/11 remembrance orgy. Our nation’s response to 9/11 (war mongering, civil rights violations, war crimes, faux-patriotism, disgusting political oppurtunism and irrational fear)should be a source of embarrassment.

    The thing that disgusted me the most today was the corporate exploitation of the tragedy. During NFL broadcasts, Budweiser, Verizon, State Farm and Southwest Airlines debuted nauseating 9/11-themed commercials in an attempt to exact financial gain from the deaths of thousands. That is just despicable. Can you imagine this happening in any other nation on the planet? Imagine if, on the even of the London train bombings, a UK company aired a commercial that sought to exploit the emotions surrounding that tragedy? The Brits wouldn’ stand for it. But in the good ol’ USA, the people just eat that shit up.

  24. 24
    cowalker

    Oh, say can you see, by the Swat team’s bright lights,
    The police as they search without warrant or good cause?
    What great safety we’ve gained for the loss of our rights!
    Freedom’s dangers were scotched when we changed those bad laws.
    Blessed by TV’s soft glow, to the shopping mall we go,
    Every move watched and tracked, but slightly safer from foe.
    O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the scared and the home of fear’s slaves?

    Oh! thus be it ever, when scared men shall take
    Their bombs and their tanks and the war’s desolation
    To the lands with much oil, with ideals that are fake,
    Praise the greed that hath made and defined our great nation.
    Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
    And we’ll sloganize thus: “In shock and awe be our trust.”
    And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
    O’er the land of the scared and the home of fear’s slaves!

  25. 25
    Suresh

    I am an immigrant and serving in US Army. I truly understand your feelings PZ. This bullies and coward reactions belongs not to 21st century.

    I came to this country on 2004 as young man to do my Masters and for an American dream, Jefferson would be proud of an immigrant like me, but now, I am not sure, Is this American Dream I wanted for ?

    Every airport TSA treats people like uncivilized animals, a president inciting Bible verse at the Ground Zero just only for his re election, he never cares about the people of America.

    As an immigrant I serve this country to serve the American people and have my American dream, but this is not the America I came to this country for ….. I am in so much despair.

  26. 26
    Izzaria

    This is what I posted on my face book wall in response to those who felt the need to pray to god on 9/11. “For all you god worshipers !! Where was your god on 9/11 on vacation? if there is a god he let 9/11 happen and is therefore not worth worshiping.”

  27. 27
    BCskeptic

    As a Canadian reading PZ’s blog, and now these comments, I have hope that our neighbour to the south won’t self-destruct.

    Stand up and let your voices be heard. You can turn the tide of your country. Don’t let the warmongers and profiteers win.

  28. 28
    khms

    So much of this discussion is so familiar. We had those same discussions about the laws passed as a response to terror in 1968.

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/German_Emergency_Acts (English language, rather short)

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/wiki/Deutsche_Notstandsgesetze (German language, also explains about the opposition)

    I remember hearing “That’s just what the terrorists want!” … except they didn’t win, at least not back the, we did: those emergency laws were never invoked, and we didn’t need our military to win against the RAF.

  29. 29
    Teshi

    Mostly, the BBC’s coverage of 9/11 was roughly okay, although I didn’t see the political side of things.

    There was also a lot of talk about Young People; people who were children or teenagers on 9/11. They wanted to know what it was like then and what it was like now. “Growing up in a post-9/11 world,” they call it.

    One thing said in the British memorial service struck me. “It’s strange that something intended to divide us has brought us together.”

    Perhaps he meant the British, but my reaction to this was incredulity. If anything, 9/11 has succeeded entirely in dividing America at least and the world in general. Within days, brown people’s (Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus– didn’t matter. Could any of these people tell these people apart or what they believe then, or even now?) graves and places of worship were attacked. “American” and “patriot” gained a new more stringent meaning. Social programs were cast aside for military ones. Countries argued over whether war should happen and what it should do. The right and the left broke apart. The day became a byword for jingoistic patriotism and combative to all those who dared treat it differnetly The land around 9/11 became so holy to some people as an apparently Christian monument only that a Muslim community centre couldn’t be built nearby. Anti-governmental conspiracy theories started by speculating kids ran amok among fear-ridden older adults and gave birth to related anti-government conspiracies. Two presidential elections have been dominated by the day.

    This is division, not togetherness. It is failure, not success.

    If a country’s reaction to tragedy is a sign of that country’s health, the US was already sick when 9/11 occurred. The tragedy just brought everything to the surface.

  30. 30
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    How does one give a standing ovation over the internet?

  31. 31
    maureen.brian

    Yes, PZ.

  32. 32
    D Carroll

    The loss of life on 9-11 was a tragedy. The loss of freedom that followed was pointless.

  33. 33
    Dave Boyer

    I think your expression is akin to my own. As the day started out yesterday I found this link to Tom Engelhardt’s article and thought that it too matched my sentiments. Maybe it isn’t that we were attacked on the eleventh but that the country gasped a last breath and expired on the twelfth that disturbs me so.

    http://www.truth-out.org/lets-cancel-911-bury-war-states-blank-check-sea/1315488002

  34. 34
    Steve

    By coincidence, I also watched “Red State” yesterday, and I couldn’t agree more with PZ on both the movie and the state of our country.

  35. 35
    Caek Noms

    Really? I thought he was a white guy who initiated the reformation.

  36. 36
    Gordon

    I’ve always felt the proper response to terrorism is to refuse to be afraid. If the terrorists want to fill me with fear I’ll give them contempt instead.

    So I was disappointed too.

  37. 37
    opposablethumbs

    Bloody well said, PZ!

    (and good lyrics @ 24, cowalker)

  38. 38
    Kevin Alexander

    ’tis Himself,

    ‘While I’m not a Spenglerian historical determinist, I’ve noticed for a long while that the US is moving from a republic to a caesarist dictatorship. This is something Spengler suggested happen when civilizations get old.’

    As an Evo-Psych-o my take is that civilization is a very hard juggle. When the balls start to fall we revert to our default position which is a degeneration to our savage selves.

    Notice that those on the right don’t think, they FEEL. They feel that our tribe is better than theirs. They feel that the powerful should bully the weak and we should all fear and worship the powerful. Jane Goodall has seen it all and can explain it exactly.

    I’m sad to say that the same thing is happening here in Canada. One of the first things that our right wing PM did when he got his majority was to start tacking up pictures of the Queen (we need a Leviathan,of course we can’t rule ourselves) then he started gratuitous insults toward the French Canadians, the despised ‘other’

    Also big plans for more prisons to hold the victims of his other big plans.

  39. 39
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    PZ: Word.

  40. 40
    lofty

    It’s what I thought when I turned on the radio and heard all about the attacks on 9/11/01. There go my civil liberties. A curse on all the stupid people in charge.

  41. 41
    telamonides

    Looking forward to the POST-post 9/11 world.

  42. 42
    David Marjanović, OM

    It’s over, Bin La[...]den won.

    Fun is, he has lost on his home turf. Al-Qaida had kept promising that they’d incite revolts against all the corrupt autocrats*, yet not only didn’t they manage to do anything, the Tunisian/Egyptian/etc. revolution has taken them completely by surprise. They were exposed as useless loudmouths. As a journalist recently put it, bin Laden died on Liberation Square in Cairo half a year before he was really shot in Pakistan.

    The loss of life on 9-11 was a tragedy. The loss of freedom that followed was pointless.

    Greek tragedy: everyone who has burdened guilt upon their shoulders dies.
    Shakespeare tragedy: everyone dies.
    Kishon tragedy: everyone dies, except the politician and his secretary – the very two people who are responsible for it all.

    This was much like a Kishon tragedy.

    (Yeah, sure, bin Laden did die, but he has never had to go to court for incitement and aid to mass murder in 2776 cases, and he was already dead politically by then.)

    I’ve always felt the proper response to terrorism is to refuse to be afraid. If the terrorists want to fill me with fear I’ll give them contempt instead.

    *clenched-tentacle salute*

    There’s actually a movie about this. It’s from 1998 and features a terrorist attack on the WTC towers.

  43. 43
    David Marjanović, OM

    Oh, I forgot the footnote. In a video, bin Laden once said Bush was easy to deal with because “we’re used to countries ruled by the sons of kings and presidents”.

  44. 44
    Celtic_Evolution

    The most telling part of the state we are in as a country, is that the majority of people in the US would unfortunately read this with disdain, and without realizing that it is in all likelihood the most patriotic thing they will read regarding 9/11.

    Draping yourself in a flag, cowering in a state of national paranoia, shaking an angry fist at the world, and asserting brute force to exact your revenge with or without the cooperation of those you need to step over, through, and around to do so is not patriotism.

    Being angry that America was not brave enough and wise enough so say to those that would seek to do us harm: “do what you will… we will not change our core values. We will not live in fear. We will not allow ourselves to become so paranoid that we subvert ourselves and discard our most treasured principles. We will not be scared into changing who we are.”… that is patriotism to me.

    Unfortunately, what 9/11 did manage to do, for me, was uncover the chilling fact that we Americans, as a group, are not who I thought we were.

    I often wonder if our political leadership has ever considered that the reason we have not had a repeat attack of a similar nature since 9/11 is not because of disgraceful demolitions of personal freedom like the “Patriot Act”, but because it has not been necessary. We have done far more to damage ourselves since 9/11 than any terrorist attack could have hoped for.

  45. 45
    truthspeaker

    I agree totally, PZ.

  46. 46
    Jadehawk

    Now, that is a very scary thought; OBL could have won but in a totally twisted way.

    I’m pretty sure that’s quite close to the way he imagined he’d win: make the US turn itself into the USSR and bankrupt itself in the process.

  47. 47
    Dianne

    The shade of Lincoln is weeping right now.

    I very much doubt that. Quite apart from the physics, Lincoln was very much into restricting civil liberties to preserve the country. Admittedly, I went to school in Texas where they dwelt on that sort of thing more, but I think Lincoln would approve of the Patriot act. The difference being that Lincoln apparently understood that he was committing an evil act and felt it was the lesser evil to letting the south secede and become a slave nation. Bush doesn’t understand that he did anything wrong and is probably still wondering why people didn’t beg him to stay on another term.

  48. 48
    Psych-Oh

    Well said, PZ.

    Americans are indeed embracing fear.

    After 9/11, Americans showed
    a greater willingness to trade their own civil liberties for
    security and greater support for denying civil liberties to
    groups perceived as proxies for the 9/11 attackers. For
    example, more than two thirds of Americans reported that
    they were willing to sacrifice some civil liberties to fight
    terrorism, and one in four thought that the Bush administration
    had not gone far enough to restrict civil liberties
    in the months immediately following the attacks (Etzioni,
    2002; Huddy, Khatib, & Capelos, 2002). Moreover, more
    people were willing to trade civil liberties for greater security
    directly following the 9/11 attacks (55%) than in
    1997 when no terrorist attacks had recently occurred (29%;
    Huddy et al., 2002; PEW Research Center, 2007). The
    willingness to trade civil liberties for security was especially
    strong among people who expressed high levels of
    trust in the government and worried that the United States
    would face additional terrorist attacks (e.g., Davis & Silver,
    2004).

    This is from an interesting social psych article by Morgan,Wisneski & Skitka, 2011 about terror management and value protection theory.

  49. 49
    Dianne

    I was in NYC and working at Bellevue on 9/11/01. I breathed the smoke for months afterwards, full knowing that I was inhaling the dead, saw some of the (few) injured survivors, passed police barricades every day to get to work, wondered how many friends I lost (none, but that was sheer dumb luck.) The loss of life was terrible and senseless and it was altogether a bad thing.

    It also wasn’t, on a national or even city level, that big a deal. Wait, let me explain before you start flaming me! The city lost a lot of money, 3000 people (out of roughly 20 million in the metro area), and several buildings. But it wasn’t overwhelmed. There was more random anarchic crime associated with the blackouts of the 1970s. Probably the blackout of 2003 as well. The hospitals remained open and not overwhelmed with casualties. Most businesses even stayed open. Martial law was not declared. Food did not run out. Most places still had electricity and water, although phone service was very shaky for a time. The rest of the country was affected only psychologically. No one in Kansas starved because of the attacks. A few may have lost their jobs, but the stock market crash that followed the attacks was inevitable and the attacks were more the excuse than the reason.

    Compare this to, say, the situation in Germany after WWI. I saw a plaque that listed the deaths in Handschuhsheim, a small section of Heidelberg, itself a rather small city. The population in Handschuhsheim in 1914 can’t have been more than a few thousand and the plaque in question was in the church yard of one of the two established churches in Germany, so might have represented half the deaths in that area. Over 150 names were listed. Many had the same last name, suggesting all the young men in a family were killed. It really brought home what the “lost generation” meant: the death of all the young men. People starved because those men were gone. The economy crashed into ruins because they were gone. The crazies got into power partly because they were gone and the anger was unresolved.

    The US isn’t going fascist, at least not right now. Not because the constitution protects us. Not because we’re genetically or memetically superior. Simply because we’re not under that much pressure. 9/11 wasn’t Dresden or Hiroshima or even Pearl Harbor. It was Oklahoma City writ large. It was, in the end, a random and insignificant act of violence from a random and insignificant group, no different from any other mass murder. Al Qaeda is not worth fearing.

  50. 50
    Carbon Based Life Form

    Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” What’s worse, essential liberties have been given up for a phantasm calling itself safety.

    Here is a song to go along with PZ’s comment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4xECJtOSYA

  51. 51
    Kevin Alexander

    Dianne, I suspect that you’re right, Lincoln did those things though I doubt he was ‘very much into it’

    The difference is that in his day the US actually was in mortal danger. 9/11, for all its horror was still only one attack by a tiny number of people who could, in no possible way, hurt the nation seriously……. unless they could get it to self destruct.

    Which they did.

  52. 52
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    make the US turn itself into the USSR and bankrupt itself in the process.

    Too right. He won. The moment the Orwellian-titled “Patriot Act” went into effect, he won.

  53. 53
    ibyea

    @illuminata
    That really pisses me off. The fact that fear let the terrorists win. In fact, it was something that I have been thinking for a while, but PZ put it more eloquently than I could have.

  54. 54
    Dianne

    I suspect that you’re right, Lincoln did those things though I doubt he was ‘very much into it’

    You’re right: my original statement overstepped the bounds of what we know about Lincoln. As far as I can tell, he wasn’t particularly happy about restricting civil liberties (i.e. arresting people in Maryland because he thought that they might, possibly, sympathize with the south), but he did it, apparently believing he had to to win. Notably, though, he did NOT cancel the elections that occurred in 1864 nor, as far as I know, even try to fix them. Diebold take note on how a real republican acts. But he’s still not an example of a president who faced a crisis without resorting to restricting civil liberties.

  55. 55
    Gregory in Seattle

    This comic was in today’s paper, and I think it sums up things nicely: Let it go, and move on.

  56. 56
    dean the bean

    @Celtic @44: brilliant post.

    I think I’m spending too much time on progressive and atheist blogs, because I am truly getting frightened for your country. Your politics seem hopelessly divided. The rage, bigotry and ignorance on the right is palpable. The leading Republican candidates for president are theocrats-in-waiting.

    I’d like to invite progressive Americans to move up to Canada. It may be too late to keep the US from tilting all the way over into some type of corn-pone fascism, but it isn’t too late here. We just need more centrists and progressives to help us keep our conservative government from going down the same road.

  57. 57
    Dianne

    I’d like to invite progressive Americans to move up to Canada. It may be too late to keep the US from tilting all the way over into some type of corn-pone fascism, but it isn’t too late here.

    Find me and my partner a job and we’re yours. I like snow. And socialized medicine.

  58. 58
    defides

    Recently saw Red State myself.

    ******WARE SPOILERS!******

    I liked: the way it started off as a story about religious lunatics and then suddenly pulled the carpet from under our feet and became a story about fascist state repression.

    Great line: “What is this? September 10, 2001? Patriot Act. We can do anything we want.”

    I disliked: the sudden disconnect between the live action and the post-event interview. Bit of a deus ex machina resolution to a mysterious happening.

    PS It wasn’t much of a blood bath. Shocking, but not especially gory.

  59. 59
    Everyday Atheist

    There really is no inverse relationship between freedom and security — we can’t make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free. All that happens when we make ourselves less free is that we’re less free.

    - Molly Ivins

  60. 60
    Sid Schwab

    This is what I had to say about it, along similar lines.

  61. 61
    Jadehawk

    I’d like to invite progressive Americans to move up to Canada. It may be too late to keep the US from tilting all the way over into some type of corn-pone fascism, but it isn’t too late here.

    trust me, if Canada would accept us, we’d already be there.

  62. 62
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    trust me, if Canada would accept us, we’d already be there.

    Exactly. Emmigration requirements are waaaaaaaaaaay out of bounds for some of us wanting to leave. If you don’t have an advanced degree or 20 yrs experience in some very specialized trade, OR tons and tons of money to invest once you get there, you’re staying in the US.

  63. 63
    Usernames are smart

    #56 dean the bean says:

    I’d like to invite progressive Americans to move up to Canada. It may be too late to keep the US from tilting all the way over into some type of corn-pone fascism, but it isn’t too late here. We just need more centrists and progressives to help us keep our conservative government from going down the same road.

    No.

    We have to stay here and fight. We have to fight harder, because if we run away, the trolly will barrel into the ocean as fast as it can.

    You ignore history at your perl. A belligerent, fascist government, armed with nuclear weapons and one of the most powerful military forces on the planet will quickly turn its appetite to its neighbors, especially if they have something it wants.

  64. 64
    khms

    @12 September 2011 at 8:35 am, Carbon Based Life Form says:

    Benjamin Franklin said,
    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    What’s worse, essential liberties have been given up for a phantasm calling itself safety.

    @12 September 2011 at 10:43 am, Everyday Atheist says:

    There really is no inverse relationship between freedom and security — we can’t make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free. All that happens when we make ourselves less free is that we’re less free.

    - Molly Ivins

    I’ve often said it like this:

    You can’t have security without freedom.

    You can’t have freedom without security.

    So trying to exchange one for the other is fallacious.

    In more detail, would you rather be afraid of car bombs or be afraid of the knock on the door in the night? Does that distinction even make sense?

  65. 65
    Celtic_Evolution

    I’ve been thinking about this post all day…been roiling inside me so I had to get it out and post about it. I won’t regurgitate that post here except the last line, which sums it up pretty well for me:

    In just the few days following 9/11, we showed the world what America truly could, and should be… and then we spent the next ten years showing them what we really are. That’s why remembering 9/11 fills me with pride… and shame.

  66. 66
    Gregory in Seattle

    I’d like to invite progressive Americans to move up to Canada.

    I actually did apply a few years ago for resident status. Unfortunately, I have some chronic medical problems and was given a flat-out “No.” It is a reasonable, if frustrating, side effect of your single-payer health system.

  67. 67
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Dean the Bean:

    Give me a support structure, a job, and enough cash to move and sure, not a problem. Until that happens, I’ll be here trying to make the USA a bit better place to live.

  68. 68
    Sili

    ‘Tis Himself

    While I’m not a Spenglerian historical determinist, I’ve noticed for a long while that the US is moving from a republic to a caesarist dictatorship. This is something Spengler suggested happen when civilizations get old.

    But you do give it that unique USAnian twist by considering two hundred-odd years old.

  69. 69
    tim gueguen

    It’s not just the US where there’s 9/11 fetishism. Stephen Harper wants to make it a permanent thing up here.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/09/08/pol-day-of-service-911.html

  70. 70
    Carlie

    A belligerent, fascist government, armed with nuclear weapons and one of the most powerful military forces on the planet will quickly turn its appetite to its neighbors, especially if they have something it wants.

    And pretty soon, the climate belt shifts will mean that all the farmland is in Canada. I’d be getting started on building a big wall on the border now if I were Canada.

  71. 71
    sandiseattle

    I do believe that the remembrance and memorialization of the events of 9/11 does have its place. Please remember that this too will pass. How (collectively) emotional do we get about Pearl Harbor? Not so much. 10 years on is still “fresh in the mind” for such an event. Observe the day as little or as much as you feel, but realize it is still an emotional hot button and may be for awhile yet. My two cents anyhow.

  72. 72
    truthspeaker

    Way to miss the point, sandi.

  73. 73
  74. 74
    sandiseattle

    truthspeaker, I think maybe you miss the point. What did we do after Pearl Harbor? Our national fear then led us to round up all the Japanese and put them in camps. So think about it, is our reaction to 9/11 any different than what it was to Pearl Harbor? Will we be apologizing for Gitmo in 50 or 75 years? ( I know its not exactly the same but you can see the parallels) Hows that for getting the point, we didn’t learn from history. We did it again. Pearl Harbor was seventy years ago, lets see where were are about 9/11 in 2071.

  75. 75
    Kris Hughes

    You put very well, if relatively few words, what I have frequently tried to articulate in many more, less successfully. Thank you!

  76. 76
    Rey Fox

    No, True Faith comes from New Order. Spam!

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